Posts Tagged ‘WIA’

What’s WIA

Hi folks,

After having presented previously the basic idea about scanner drivers as well as the bottom line on TWAIN, today we will try to shed some light on WIA.

Wikipedia definition reads: “Windows Image Acquisition (WIA; sometimes also called Windows Imaging Architecture) is a Microsoft driver model and application programming interface (API) for Microsoft Windows ME and later Windows operating systems that enables graphics software to communicate with imaging hardware such as scanners, digital cameras and digital video-equipment.”

So what does it mean from a user’s point of view ? And how is WIA different from TWAIN?

Well, to begin with, both TWAIN and WIA goal is to connect various imaging devices to various imaging softwares.


-TWAIN is meant to be an industry standard (covering all image acquisition devices, for all Operating Systems) while WIA is a vendor (Microsoft) API provided to image acquisition device manufacturers for Windows Operating Systems only.

-WIA is said to offer better support when it comes to digital cameras while TWAIN has a strong orientation towards scaners.

-both TWAIN and WIA allow scanning operation control via dialog or programatically (with no dialog showed).
WIA uses a common dialog for all devices while TWAIN uses the dialog created by the device manufacturer.

-when scanning in duplex mode, TWAIN supports options for each side of the page while WIA uses the same settings for both sides.

-if the device manufacturer has created custom capabilities, TWAIN allows you to use them even though they don’t exist in the TWAIN specifications.

-WIA provides a transparent compatibility layer which allows TWAIN compatible applications to employ and use WIA-driver-based devices.

Remember that PaperScan supports both TWAIN and WIA so it provides users with universal image acquiring feature and full image and document processing power!

See you next week!


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A Few Words On Scanner Drivers

Hi folks,

Today we are going to briefly describe some basics on how the scanners are driven by software.

Like all hardware, a scanner is a pile of “dead” electronics and mechanics; it needs software to “bring it to life”.
From a logical point of view, the most basic (hardware-level) software is the data-source driver, which is particular to a given type of scanner.
On another logical level, some other part of the software has to connect it with the multitude of existing imaging software applications.
Ideally, such piece of software should allow any imaging application to operate any scanner.
To bring users closer to this wish, the solution was to create a standard in order to provide unique API on application side and keeping specific, scanner-dedicated driver part on scanner side.
The standard is actually a protocol, containing all needed specifications for any imaging application to be able to handle a scanner.
TWAIN is such a protocol and, due to Windows Operating System widespread, Microsoft’s WIA became a widespread driver and API model, too.
There are also ISIS (“Image and Scanner Interface Specification”) and SANE (“Scanner Access Now Easy”) open specifications but they are less spread.

The reasons we have provided the above short description are for our general public to understand:

1) why each scanner type and model requires its own specific driver.
Different scanners models might have similar generic names but they nevertheless might require specific drivers to run.
You need to make sure to use the exact driver for the exact model of scanner, written for the exact Windows OS you are using.
Using the latest available version is always a good idea and caution is required for deprecated drivers (whose maintenance has been abandoned).

2) why you can use any imaging application but just the unique driver dedicated to and delivered with a given scanner.
No matter the name of the manufacturer’s software delivered with the scaner (ScannedAll, DeskScan, etc.) it surely complies with a standard to allow you to operate your scanner from within other applications that offers you more power or convenience than the manufacturer’s one.

3) why incompatibility issues might however arise
A protocol (such as TWAIN) is a set of specifications to be followed by driver developers, not a software ‘per se’.
Some manufacturers might not always fully comply with the specifications and this might generate various incompatibility issues.
Also, you have to keep in mind that drivers are not infailible, they too are subject to bugs and glitches.
So again, make sure to always use the latest available version.

By supporting both TWAIN and WIA, PaperScan provides users with universal image acquiring feature and complete image and document processing power.

Of course, GdPicture.NET SDK, upon which PaperScan was built, offers developers full support for TWAIN and WIA.

See you next week!


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